There are 7 thoughts on “Plural Marriage: Beauty for Ashes”.

  1. I liked Julie Russell’s comment that Eliza R. Snow “flipped the binary” by moving “plural marriage from a station of diminished women’s rights to a platform for women’s choices.” The young men should get themselves right with the Lord, she said, “or else no righteous woman would ever marry them.” In other words, the woman could choose between a righteous man who practiced plural marriage and a not-so-righteous man who did not. George Bernard Shaw made a similar observation. He said, “Polygamy, when tried under modern democratic conditions, as by the Mormons, is wrecked by the revolt of the mass of inferior men who are condemned to celibacy by it; for the maternal instinct leads a woman to prefer a tenth share in a first rate man to the exclusive possession of a third rate one.” (George Bernard Shaw, “The Revolutionist’s Handbook and Pocket Companion,” Man and Superman (Barnes & Noble Classics 2004 ), 511.)

  2. A truly great article and one that change my perspective on plural marriage and how it was meant to bless the lives of the faithful. As a descendant from multiple ancestors (6 out of 8 great grandparents) who practiced plural marriage, I have often wondered on the practical difficulties of living this principle. Thank you Sister Russell for bringing some additional clarity to this topic.

  3. Does the practice of earthly plural marriage foreshadow the “necessary” conditions in the first degree of the Celestial Kingdom? Does it hint at the “necessary” ordinances of the Priesthood? Of which BOTH men and women will fully exercise? True principles of Consecration? On the part of BOTH men and women?

    • What exactly are you hinting at: that plural marriage will be the dominant order of marriage in CK1? Or that some women will have multiple husbands just as some men will have multiple wives? What you’re implying in your comment is not clear to me.

  4. While I am familiar with the history of plural marriage in biblical as well as modern times, it never ceases to be an awkward topic of conversation in most settings. Julie Russell has done a great job of framing the subject of plural marriage within the broader challenge of Christian Discipleship and of doing God’s will. She has related it to today’s challenges in an effective way so that it is relevant to any doctrine or principle that we find challenging or that is out of vogue with the world around us.

    I liked this quote that is as useful today as it was in centuries past:
    “This world wants us to feel the way it thinks we should feel. It wants us to find offense where it tells us to find offense. It wants to define us with its arbitrary and fluid standards.”


    • Yes, that was what struck me most about Snow’s understanding of the principle. At first she was afraid of being marred by the practice, but after some time, she seemed to realize that she couldn’t be bothered about what people outside her understanding thought about her.

  5. Plural Marriage: Beauty for Ashes
    Julie A. Russell

    I enjoyed Julie Russell’s article a lot. I’m sure that Brigham Young and Heber C Kimball were NOT the only husbands who had difficulty accepting polygamy. Because polygamy in the Gospel is often WRONGLY associated with either harems or old men marrying young girls (both of which exist in NON-Gospel polygamy), it is WRONGLY assumed that all men like the idea of polygamy. I confess that I – a man – would have had great difficulty accepting polygamy. I couldn’t have stood the idea of hurting my wife just as Heber C. Kimball became ill at the thought of telling his wife about polygamy. For many loving husbands the idea of polygamy was, I’m quite sure, very painful. I have made a joke about polygamy in the Gospel: Polygamy must have been either inspired or crazy because what sane man would want more than one wife.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

All comments are moderated to ensure respectful discourse. It is assumed that it is possible to disagree agreeably and intelligently and comments that intend to increase overall understanding are particularly encouraged. Individual authors are given the option to disallow commenting or end commenting after a certain period at their discretion.

Close this window

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This